6 pesto recipes with kale, basil, carrot tops and more greens

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One of the numerous reasons pesto is truly great is its double-sided variability and versatility. You can make it out of so many different things and also use it in so many ways.

You can stick with classic basil, or mix in other herbs and greens. The nuts are open to interpretation, or you can skip the nuts and use your choice of seeds. Toss the pesto with pasta, or spread it onto a sandwich or pizza crust. Use it as a dip for crudités or crackers.

To sample the scope of the many ways to create and enjoy pesto, here’s a collection of recipes from our archives.

Classic Basil Pesto, above. This recipe from Italian cookbook legend Marcella Hazan is the type of pesto you’ll find in Genoa, Italy. It comes together in a flash in the food processor.

How to make the most of your fresh herbs

Carrot Top Pesto. Don’t toss the greens from the top of your carrots. Instead, use them to make this pesto, which also includes some basil in the mix. Tip: Remove the greens from your carrots as soon as you bring them home, and store separately as you would herbs (usually I wrap in a barely damp towel and place in a bag in the produce bin). Leaving the greens attached can cause the carrots to go limp.

Cut waste and boost flavor with recipes that use the whole vegetable

Basil-Cashew Pesto. Not everyone is a fan of pine nuts, especially the metallic taste some people experience after eating them. Enter cashews. They lend a rich creaminess to the pesto that’s tempered by a bit of lemon juice.

When life gives you herbs by the fistful, put them to use in sauces, salads and drinks

Kale Pesto. This recipe is great all year round if you’re trying to eat more nutritious greens, but it’s particularly appreciated in cooler months when fresh, local herbs are on hiatus.

A guide to pasta shapes and how to pair them with dishes and sauces

Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta. Instead of nuts and herbs, this pesto uses sunflower seeds and arugula. The recipe calls for cold-pressed sunflower oil, though you can swap in another oil of your choice.

Neutral vegetable oil is boring. Nutty, buttery, cold-pressed sunflower oil is here and ready to be tasted.

Mustard Greens + Pecan Pesto. If you like a boldly flavored pesto, go with punchy mustard greens.